Friday, July 1, 2011

Common Tips to Avoid Getting Pickpocketed When Visiting Foreign Countries

You could get pick pocketed at any given time. You never know when you could be walking out of an airport and the next thing you know, all your belongings have been stolen from you after a gentle push in the middle of a busy interstate. Professional pickpocketer's can steal the clothes off your body, they can steal your tie, your belt, even your shoes!

You never know when you could end up barefooted and walking the rope.

To avoid this:

1. Identify the pickpocketer. Generally, a pickpocketer would be a skinny young adult. You don't usually see agile/fast obese people. Although, a good pickpockter won't be seen 90% of the time.

2. Identify pickpocketing duos. Usually, beginner and even advance pickpockters would work in small teams of two or more. One to preform the lift, and another to walk away with the evidence. This way, even if the pickpocketer is discovered by his hasty or slow movements, he can always brush his hands clean with zero evidence on-hand when you confront them.

3. Pickpocketers bump onto you, be aware of that. Pickpocketers usually bump into you, to see how aware you are of your body. Pickpocketers love people who talk on their phones, carry loud babies or walk around without a care in the world. Usually, one pickpockter would bump into you hard, to identify where your possessions are and the other pickpockter would bump into you more passively and lightly to preform the actual lift. The initial bump is to test you and/or to identify where your things are.

4. Keep your things in your pockets. Who said they need to bump into you? Pickpocketers can simply follow you around in till you take your wallet out, put your phone away, or take your phone out and suddenly know the location of your items. Once you put your phone/wallet away in your left pocket, you just told everyone around you that you keep your phone/wallet in your left pocket. Generally, keep your possessions in your pockets in till you reach your destination.
Screw it, here's a bag full of numbers.

5. Spread out your cash. Chances are, despite all the precautions, these guys are good, they will get to your stuff before you can blink three times and call yourself Billy. If you keep your money spread out on your body (e.g. your shoes, your front pockets, your back pockets, your bag, your wallet) you'll end up with less money stolen. Would you rather they steal it all in one big swoop, or lose a little here and there? 

6. Carry a false wallet. This is to trick the pickpocketer to leave you alone after they believe that they've successfully pickpocketed you. The idea of a "false" wallet is to fill it up with useless cards (i.e. business cards, fliers, pictures of that cousin you hate) and small amounts of cash in order to trick the pickpockter to make off with your false wallet that essentially is worthless to you and to not poke around more to look for more money. Think of it this way, a group of grave robbers break into your tomb, and see a giant gold statue with jewels encrusted everywhere, they carry it off and call it a day. In reality, the statue was made out of cheap wood, paint, and plastic knock-offs, and while they carried it away happily, they failed to notice the solid diamond skull encrusted with more diamonds in the corner to the left. Get a false wallet, and keep it somewhere easy to steal from. Although this may run you down a few bucks to purchase the wallet and it's contents. Fill your false wallet with actual money and use it for small transactions on the road, so when/if pickpocketers decide to pickpocket the wallet they see first, they'll only pickpocket the false wallet.
  • You may want to put actual replaceable ID cards, that can't be tracked back to you, or expired/unvalid creditcards, to make it more reasonable for the person to think that it is your actual wallet.
7. Keep an eye on your physical pockets/bags. Pickpocketers want you to look away from the swipe, they may have a beautiful girl stand near you with a open blouse to get you busy long enough to steal your shoes, pants, and socks. This usually happens whileyou're standing around. (i.e. waiting for someone or standing on a train/bus)

8. When walking in a crowd, force forward! Don't go along with the flow, if you need to go from point A to B, go straight for it. Don't allow people to bump into easily and become all touchy-touchy. Become the bump-er rather then the bump-ee. Better yet, avoid crowds if possible.

Use any force necessary.

9. Keep your stuff in your front pockets. NEVER keep your things in your butt pockets, it's out of your sight and your reach. Butt pocket pick pocketing is one of the easiest things to do, don't think some 24 year old pickpocket is going to have a problem reaching down there and getting it. In your front pockets, you can easily look down and confirm it's still there, and keep your hands inside of them at all times. Also, it's generally a harder place to steal from.

10. If someone tells you that you have a stain on your shirt, walk away quickly. It's one of the "textbook" cons. What they do is squirt some mustard (Or anything) onto your shirt or pants and tell you about it, then they offer to help wipe it clean and 20 minutes after they leave, your find out that your wallet has been "misplaced".

11. Keep bags on your lap. When you're sitting down or such, keep your stuff on your lap, which makes things incredibly more difficult to steal things from you, never hang your bag or jacket on your chair, it'll become a easy target.

12. Don't get distracted. Although it's inevitable, try to not get distracted, pickpockters are master distracteor's, many of them know very clever ways to keep your mind, and eyes off your possessions. It doesn't even have to be a good looking young lady, some pickpocketers may make direct eye contact, to distract you towards his/her upper torso, while someone else steals your shoes. Another common distraction, is making a large scene, like seven break dancers, and while crowds form, there may be a single pickpocketer stealing from the entire crowd.

Look at all those shoes, I mean people.

13. Look Confident. Confused and lost looking tourist are the #1 target for pickpocketers. They're usually carry a lot of money, easily/already confused/distracted, and are insecure. Little risk for large payout, it's worth stealing from.

14. Carry a money pouch/front pack. Keep this under your clothing, out of sight. It's harder to get under your clothes and into a money pouch, then to simply reach into your bookbag, and use your natural body sways to open and retrieve all your possessions.

15.Avoid touching the pocket you carry your wallet. Pickpocketers may go into a large crowd, and whisper "There's a pickpocketer somewhere!" or other such things, in order to get the crowd worried about their possessions, and touch their pockets to see if their wallet is still there. The simple act of touching one's pocket indicates where your wallet is.

  • Your life is worth more then your possessions. If someone holds you a gunpoint, and demands your wallet, just give it to him. Don't try to play "super awesome cool main character for a comedy thriller movie" and try to disarm him, or give him a false wallet. It's not worth the risk.
  • Stay in well-lit, well-populated areas. Avoid dark alley's that scream "People will kill you here"
  • Keep your alert up if a stranger makes conversation. They may be asking for directions or showing you something. They may be trying to distract you in order for someone else to steal your stuff.
Protip: Knowing someone that is a local, such as a family relative or friend is a BIG plus when visiting a foreign country. Call them before hand, see if they are willing for temporary roommate and to help walk you through how things work over there.

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